Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.


Image from El Lienza de Tlaxcala (Tlaxcalan)


This image shows a priest baptizing several Tlaxcalan women, including the daughters of Xicotencatl. The Spaniards are holding a cross and there is a painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the wall in this makeshift church. While the Spaniards succeeded in baptizing women, who were given to them, men rarely agreed to be baptized and resisted giving up their idols. This drawing made years after the conquest was especially designed to win sympathy for the Tlaxcalans from the Spaniards by showing their early faith in the Church, something questionable at the time.

Step One

Make some observations about what is included in the image.

  • Who can you identify?
  • Where are they located in the image?
  • How are they dressed?
  • What kind of military action do you see?
  • What is the center of this image?

Step Two

Ask yourself some questions about what you see in the image.

  • What is the story being told in this image?
  • What are the similarities between this story and what you just read on the previous page?
  • What are the differences between this story and what you just read?
  • How do you account for the differences in the various stories?

Step Three

Write your own interpretation about the conflict between Spanish and indigenous religion and culture based on the evidence.